Map out a game plan
The gap between something being a lofty dream and a realistic goal might just be figuring out the nuts and bolts and drumming up a plan. Figure out exactly what you want to do and the steps you’ll need to get there. While you may think you have a clear idea of what your ultimate goal is, mapping out a concrete plan will help you suss out the details and prepare for any hurdles you might have along the way.
Pro tip: the more specific, the better. For instance, if you want to switch to working part-time so you can go back to school, think about how long you’ll be in school for, and what kind of sacrifices you’ll have to make, both money- and time-wise. It’s helpful to think big picture, so beyond lowering your expenses, will you have to put a hold on other major goals, such as paying off your student debt or starting a family? Or maybe you want to take a break from the daily grind and focus on making strides on a passion project. What tools and equipment will you need, and how long will you need to save up for these things?
Creating a game plan is also a good time to determine if the sacrifices you would make are worthwhile. Of course, only you can decide this. So take your time and get all the information you need to make the best choice for you.
Enter a period of “lifestyle deflation”
You’ve probably heard of lifestyle inflation, where you spend more when you make more, thus making it nearly impossible to save. If you’re making a major life change, to err on the safe side, try living like you used to in college, or finding clever ways to save during the summer months. By having fewer expenses, you can focus on investing in yourself. Reverting to your past spending habits can help you boost future savings, and make it easier for you to make your transition. Besides living like a college student, make full use of what you’re great at to rake in extra dough. You can also get rid of stuff you no longer need.
Lifestyle deflation doesn’t have to be boring. Hark back to the days of yesteryear when all you needed to have an amazing time was building a fort in your backyard. By living a more basic life and being more aware of your spending habits, you may find yourself getting blissed out by life’s pleasures.
Ramp up your emergency fund
Before you take the leap, so to speak, you’ll want to have an ample amount of money saved up in case of the unexpected. While you may be able to stretch your money so it lasts longer, you’ll need to save for lulls or in-between periods while you reach your goal. For instance, you might need some time to find a job after you finish school, or it may take a while before your business really takes off.
If you’re not sure exactly how much you should save for, look back at how much you’ve spent. If you’re a Simple customer, you can use our “Reports” feature to see how much you spend each month. That might help you get a ballpark estimate of how much you should save. When in doubt, save more than you expect to need.
Try the “leveling up” method
If you’re not ready to start over completely, create a basic system of steps you can take to make the full transition. For instance, if you want to make a go of starting your own business, try doing it as a side hustle until you rake in enough income or clients to make a full-time go of it. Or, if you want to churn out a first draft of a novel, think about how you would structure your days and build the discipline to make the full use of your time off from work. That way, you won’t find yourself lollygagging when you are afforded that free time.
While being the master of your own destiny and pursuing your dreams sometimes means having to start over, with thoughtful planning and by making tweaks to your current lifestyle and spending habits, you can set the wheels in motion to make a go of just about anything.
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